Fifth-wheel takes almost direct lightning strike in Minn. campground

Thunder and dramatic lightning flashes during electrical storms are often fun and exciting to watch, but not for Scott Johnson, who was jarred to full wakefulness when his fifth-wheel was nearly hit by a lightning strike.

The late-night rainstorm on Sunday, September 16, startled many in the Grand Marais, Minnesota, campground, but probably none more so than Scott, who said the force of the hit made the electrical plug come out of the post, reported WTIP. It appears that his fifth-wheel took an almost direct lightning strike.

Johnson called the Cook County Sheriff’s Office just before 1 a.m. on Sunday, stating that he thought lightning hit his trailer. There was no smoke or flames, but Johnson said there was a strong odor of something electrical burning.

The Grand Marais Fire Department was on scene by 1:14 a.m. and confirmed there was no fire. Firefighters used their thermal imaging camera to make sure nothing inside the camper was smoldering.

There appeared to be no significant damage to the 5th wheel, other than some scorching on the side where the power plug was connected. No other campers were impacted and there were no injuries.

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One Thought to “Fifth-wheel takes almost direct lightning strike in Minn. campground”

  1. Gray

    Back in the olden days when summer employees manned mountain-top fire lookout towers, we were instructed to disconnect and air-gap our radio antenna cables and telephone lines when a thunderstorm approached. Oftentimes I could gauge the intensity of the electrical potential overhead by the frantic snapping and popping of sparks jumping the gap between the radio cable center post and the connector body.
    The point? During an approaching T-storm, I would absolutely disconnect any electrical cords, water lines, and anything else that might offer a path into my camper. And I’d refuse that lovely camp spot under the big tree. I’ve written news stories about mobile homes blown off their foundation and sent rolling down the hillside during a T-storm microburst, and a good friend was killed in his tent by a Cottonwood tree that sent a limb crashing down on him.
    Lightning and wind and torrential rain demand respect and early precaution. Too many unaware campers have died.

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